Date of Award

5-2014

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science

Major

Teacher Education

Major Professor

Mehmet Aydeniz

Committee Members

Bradley S. Ellison, Barry W. Golden

Abstract

Over the past few decades, a variety of science education reform publications have emerged from both public and private entities, alongside graduate programs established to provide training for integrating multiple disciplines in research activities. Several documents concerning federal education policy have explored the socioeconomic impacts of reforming graduate education in the sciences and have made recommendations for funding interdisciplinary traineeship programs at U.S. universities. On the other hand, much of the current academic literature concerning interdisciplinary graduate science education considers the subject from functionalist perspectives, aiming to contribute best practices for assessment and curricular programming. In contrast to both of these efforts, this research contributes a critical analysis of interdisciplinary science education reform policy by placing such reform efforts within the context of a changing global socioeconomic landscape. Through tracing the development of the National Science Foundation’s Integrative Graduate Education and Research Traineeship program as a product of federal policy, patterns of socioeconomic ideology contained within the political documents associated with the development of this program are analyzed alongside an overview of its curricular content. Discussion of the findings is concerned with developing a critical understanding of the relationship that interdisciplinary science and science education have to ideology as a force of social reproduction. The conclusions of this analysis advocate for a critical, historical, and materialist orientation in science education research and critical education studies, while emphasizing the role of ideology in social reproduction.

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